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Australia: Shares post worst weekly performance since mid-Jan

[SYDNEY] Australian shares were little changed on Friday in a choppy session as a late rebound in financial and real estate shares helped prop up the index, which had been pulled lower by resources and energy stocks.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.09 per cent, or 5.26 points, to 5,898.90 at the close of trade, hitting an intra-day low of 5,870.7 points.

The benchmark finished flat on Thursday, after reaching its highest level since early 2008 on Monday. The index is down 0.5 per cent for the week, its worst weekly performance since Jan 16.

While the major banks ended in the red, insurance company QBE and investment bank Macquarie led gains with property companies Lend Lease and Westfield shining too.

Iron ore and metals companies including Fortescue and Arrium sank on declines in iron ore prices.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.8 per cent or 46.29 points to finish the session at 5,903.065.


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